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Posts in Category: Transit Police

Community Safety Transit Police

Mitchell named MTPD Officer of the Year 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Tuesday, April 05, 2016 10:58:00 AM

Chief John Harrington has talked a lot about community policing since taking the helm at the Metro Transit Police Department.

Officer Leonard Mitchell has taken it to heart. And for that, he was recognized as Metro Transit’s 2015 Officer of the Year. The award was presented at the department’s annual awards ceremony on March 31.

“From the day I was sworn in, the Chief has preached about community policing and that’s what I’ve tried to live up to,” Mitchell said after the ceremony. “Treat people with respect – that’s all I do and it’s working for me.”

Mitchell joined the Metro Transit Police Department in July 2013. He’s worked along the METRO Green Line corridor, in downtown St. Paul and was one of the first officers to work a new beat on St. Paul’s East Side. Mitchell is now a patrol officer in Minneapolis.

Harrington said several community leaders had contacted him about Mitchell’s efforts, describing him as one of the most visible and respected officers they’d encountered in recent years.

“This is exactly the kind of cop we want – someone who is committed to service and protection,” Harrington said.   

A graduate of Hibbing Community College, Mitchell is a member of the National Black Police Association and served on Metro Transit’s committee on the President’s Report on 21st Century Policing (the report provides recommendations for how law enforcement can better engage with the community). He is also active in the development of a new program that will pair teenagers with Metro Transit officers.

Mitchell was one of several officers recognized at the annual awards.

    > Officer Santiago Rodriguez received the Timothy Bowe Memorial Award, presented annually to a part-time officer who displays exceptional professionalism and dedication. Rodriguez is a 14-year veteran of the St. Paul Police Department and has worked with Metro Transit since 2013.

    > Officer James Menter received a Life Saving Award for assisting paramedics responding to a male who suffered cardiac arrest on a light-rail vehicle in St. Paul.

    > Beverly Cayetano, Linda Meyer, Diana White, Dana Jabs and Elaine Warren were recognized for organizing the department’s criminal database. By standardizing the department’s record-keeping system and entering 7,000 backlogged cases, the department complies with FBI standards and can more easily track the type and frequency of crimes.

In addition to these awards, 16 certificates of appreciation 11 medals of commendation and 33 medals of merit were presented.

Officers received these honors for a variety of actions, including safely apprehending suspects with weapons, identifying and arresting a suspect involved in an operator assault and protecting a woman at risk of being trampled in downtown Minneapolis. Praise was also given to an officer who saw a child with a broken bike and purchased him a new one using his own money.

Officers who conducted the most fare checks, spent the most time on-board buses and trains and made the highest-number of arrests were also honored at the event.

“What these awards represent is not just the work of individual officers, but an entire organization that goes out every day and does really, truly outstanding work,” Harrington said.

Transit Police

Transit Police welcome new officers 

| Friday, November 06, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington and officers at a swearing-in ceremony at the Union Depot on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015.Mukhtar Abdi spent ten years interacting with the public as a Metro Transit bus operator. He’ll continue to do so, but in a much different way.

This week, Abdi was among 13 men and women who were sworn in as the newest members of the Metro Transit Police Department in front of friends, family and fellow officers.

“I really just wanted to serve the community in a new way, to have more interactions and more engagement,” said Abdi, the latest officer of Somali descent to join the department. 

With the latest hires, the department now has 108 full-time officers. With another 100 part-time officers, the department is among the largest in the state. Transit Police patrol busy transit areas and regularly ride on buses and trains. They can respond to any call for service in Metro Transit’s seven-county service area.

In addition to growing the force, the new class builds on the department’s continuing efforts to diversify and reflect the community it serves. Around half of the new hires speak a second language; there are also three officers of Hmong descent. Six of the new officers are female.

The group also highlights the department’s efforts to build from within, with five officers previously serving as Community Service Officers. CSOs assist officers and police staff while pursuing law enforcement degrees.

“We’re creating a pathway for people right here at Metro Transit to pursue their dreams without having to go anywhere,” Police Chief John Harrington said.

To learn more about job opportunities with the Metro Transit Police Department visit metrotransit.org/police

2015 Metro Transit Police Academy swearing in

Student Pass Transit Police

Harrington named Transit Professional of the Year 

| Tuesday, October 20, 2015 10:05:00 AM

​Chief John Harrington was recognized as Transit Professional of the Year at the Minnesota Public Transit Association’s annual awards on Monday.Chief John Harrington was recognized as Transit Professional of the Year at the Minnesota Public Transit Association’s annual awards on Monday.

Harrington was recognized for his efforts to grow and diversify the department and for strengthening its commitment to community-oriented policing. With nearly 40 years of police experience, Harrington was sworn in as the agency’s seventh chief in 2012.

“I’m grateful for the recognition and the support,” Harrington said. “But this isn’t an individual award. It represents a lot of great work by our officers, department leadership and all our partners both at Metro Transit and around the region.”

Harrington is the latest Metro Transit leader to be recognized by MPTA as Transit Professional of the Year. Deputy General Manager Mark Fuhrmann was honored in 2014 and Jan Homan, Deputy Chief of Operations-Bus, was recognized in 2012. 

In addition to the Transit Professional of the Year honors, Metro Transit received a Management Innovation award for its work on the Student Pass program.

Around 10,000 eligible high school students at Minneapolis Public Schools and elsewhere have received a Student Pass this school year. The pass can be used to ride transit to and from school, work and other activities.

    > Meet Chief John Harrington

    > Student Pass

    > Awards and Recognition

Safety Transit Police

Academy tests, transforms aspiring Transit Police 

| Tuesday, May 26, 2015 12:00:00 AM

Metro Transit Police officers doing classroom work during the 2015 Spring Academy.When Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington addressed a group of new officers at the department’s latest swearing-in ceremony, he told them a "transformation" had taken place.

"When you came to my office as job seekers you seemed a little nervous, a little less sure," he said. "But you have stood tall and you have passed every test that we have thrown at you."

As the department’s newest full-time officers can attest, there were plenty of trials, too.

Before receiving their badges in front of family, friends and colleagues, the officers had successfully completed several weeks of training as part of the department’s customized academy program.  

The department’s academy comes in addition to higher education and state training that all aspiring officers must complete to become a licensed peace officer in Minnesota. The goal is to ground officers in the department’s expectations and help prepare them for the unique challenges they will face working in transit.

Transit Police work in communities around the metro region, patrolling on board buses and trains, in squad cars, on foot and on bike. Transit Police are available to respond to any and all calls in the department's service area.  

To prepare them for their full-time roles, the department's academy includes courses on firearms, combatives and emergency vehicle operations. Officers also spend time learning about community outreach and cultural awareness. 

"We try to give everybody a skill set and ground them in what we believe is right," said Lt. Jason Lindner, who oversees the department’s academy program. "We provide them a good solid base and give them different tools they can build on from there."

Among the dozen officers who completed the department’s spring academy was Michael Affeldt. Though he had already spent more than a year as a Community Service Officer, Affeldt said he felt much more prepared to begin his full-time role after going through the academy.

"I’m feeling very confident in my abilities," he said. "I think that’s one of the best things about the academy – it not only builds your skills it builds your confidence."

The department’s next academy is tentatively scheduled to begin in mid-September. To learn more opportunities at the Metro Transit Police Department visit metrotransit.org/police.

    > Star Tribune: Metro Transit police welcome new, diverse class

Bus Bus Rapid Transit Community Safety Transit Police

Transit Police going beyond the bus in North Minneapolis 

| Tuesday, February 10, 2015 9:22:00 AM

Metro Transit police officers David Hutchinson and Sidney Jones talk with Dean Rose, who owns Broadway Liqour Store at the corner of Broadway and Penn avenues.Metro Transit patrol officer Sidney Jones didn’t grow up in North Minneapolis. But when he moved here from Kansas City a decade ago he landed squarely in the middle of the community, making his home on Russell Avenue North. 

After experiencing the neighborhood first-hand, Jones jumped at the chance to become a part of Transit Police’s new Northside Community Policing Team.

“I grew up in the inner-city, so I wanted to be able to come back and interact with my community and to be a positive person for some of the youth,” Jones said during a recent afternoon patrol.  “I wanted to be somebody they could look up to and to do the job fairly and respectfully.”

Jones has done that and more since he and fellow patrol officer David Hutchinson began working as the department’s first members of the Northside Community Policing Team last fall. The team is responsible for patrolling a swath of North Minneapolis that runs roughly from Penn to Lyndale avenues and from Olson Memorial Highway to Dowling Avenue North.

While the officers respond to calls, ride on board buses and keep an eye on major boarding areas, one of their biggest areas of focus has been simply interacting with members of the community. Since the Northside Community Policing Team was formed, Jones and Hutchinson have spent time playing dominoes with kids at Juxtaposition, attending community meetings and getting to know business owners.

Hutchinson said the interactions have already started to change the perception of Transit Police.

“People used to think we just rode buses and checked tickets on the train,” the eight-year Transit Police officer said. “It was a surprise when we came into businesses, introduced ourselves and tried to gain a relationship with them.”

Among the business owners Jones and Hutchinson have come to know is Sam Tannos, who owns a convenience store at the corner of Penn and 26th avenues. Tannos has been at the location for six years and said having a strong police presence is critical to his business.

“We love their presence here,” Tannos said during a visit to the store. “It’s a very good idea to have them stop by and see what’s going on.”

Down the street, Dean Rose is also enthusiastic about having Transit Police become a fixture in the community.

Rose’s Broadway Liqour Store was destroyed by the 2011 tornado, forcing the store into a temporary space at the corner of Broadway and Penn avenues. A third-generation North Minneapolis business owner, Rose will break ground next year on a new mixed-use project across the street.

The plan is to incorporate a new station for the C Line Bus Rapid Transit project into the development, so Rose hopes Transit Police will continue working with him on security issues. Many people in the neighborhood use transit, Rose said, and it’s important for the businesses that will be in the building that people feel comfortable riding or standing at a bus stop.

“I think it’s important for the community to see there’s law enforcement out there,” he said. “Having these guys on the street in a visible fashion will really assist us in keeping the peace.”

Establishing such trusting relationships is the entire idea behind the beat policing model. Transit Police have established beats along the Central Corridor and in each downtowns for the same reason.

Jones said he hopes he and Hutchinson are doing now will lay a foundation for future collaboration between Metro Transit and Minneapolis police, business owners, transit customers, bus operators and others in North Minneapolis.

“The more you’re in the area, the more hopefully the community will be comfortable with those officers and coming forward to talk to them,” he said. “I really think we’re breaking ground with this new beat.”

    > Fox 9: Metro Transit Northside Beat fosters community connections

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